Dallas: The Early Years (TV Movie 1986) Poster

(1986 TV Movie)

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How the Ewings and Barnes families became entwined.
ranger-1213 September 1999
Excellent movie, well put-together, acting was superb. Gave an insight into what transpired to make the series Dallas and the characters in and around the Ewing family more understandable. Dale Midkiff made an excellent Jock. Couldn't have picked a better!!
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8/10
Dallas: The Early Years provided a fine background of the Barnes-Ewing feud for me
tavm13 June 2012
Because the new "Dallas" series with three of the original cast members premiered a few hours ago on TNT (which I won't be able to see for awhile since I don't have cable and the site it's on isn't easy to get into), I decided to watch on YouTube this movie which chronicled the origin of the Barnes-Ewing feud. It started with J.R. (Larry Hagman, of course) talking to a reporter about his view about what happened between his dad Jock Ewing and Willard "Digger" Barnes to cause such animosity though he admits he doesn't know the whole story. Then we jump to 1951 at the annual barbecue as the now-bitter and drunk Barnes attempts to shoot Jock and then we go to 1933 as Willard and Ellie were initially dating. I'll stop there and just say this was even better than I first remembered when first watching back in 1986 when this first aired. Kudos to David Marshall Grant as Digger, Dale Midkiff as Jock, and Molly Hagan as Ellie for perfectly bringing the characterizations of the younger version of these legendary people to life. Among the supporting turns, I also liked seeing Diane Franklin as Jock's first wife Amanda, Hoyt Axton as Ellie's father Aaron Southworth, and Bill Duke as sharecropper Seth Foster on screen as well as the young J.R. played by Kevin Wixted. Creator David Jacobs certainly knows how to provide enough atmosphere in filling the background of these characters and Jarrold Immel is fine with the score he provided here which is no surprise since he did create the theme song, after all! So on that note, I highly recommend Dallas: The Early Years if you're a die hard fan of the show. P.S. When watching this again, I realized that Ms. Hagan was later one of Herman's consciences in "Herman's Head" which I enjoyed. And that Dale Midkiff would a year or so later play Elvis Presley in the TV movie version of Elvis and Me which was based on the memoirs of Priscilla Presley who was playing Jenna Wade on the show at that time. And, no, I didn't recognize this Diane Franklin as the same one that played Karen in The Last American Virgin. She sure fooled me!
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Was this flashback a dream?
biglegal9724 May 2006
I always wondered that since "Dallas, The Early Years" came out during the Dallas season that was later learned to be Pam's dream, if perhaps this flashback movie was also a dream.

I thought this movie didn't focus a lot of attention on the actual occurrence of the Jock-Digger breakup. I was a little underwhelmed by that. Basically, it focused on Jock and Digger's 1933 partnership and them fighting with Newman and the townfolk. Jock meets Ellie, and then Digger basically fight because Jock takes away Digger's liquor, then they immediately flip a coin to decide Ewing Oil? It appears that Jock is going to give Digger his share and doesn't consider it binding. Then the movie goes away from that theme, focuses on Jock's very quick romance with Ellie. Then it cuts to Digger being unhappy and then back to 1951 with Digger talking about Jock badly (just like he did in the real "dallas" show). But they never really talk about Jock's alleged stealing of Ewing Oil from Digger in 1933. Nor does Digger ever confront Jock and Ellie about their romance back in 1933. It just shows Digger mad a Jock in '51, which just as easily could have been 1978.
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